Landcrafting - like most Pagan paths - cannot be explained, only felt. It's more behavior than belief, more practice than dogma, more of a mood than anything else. It's experiential. I think there's a lot more to learn about, say, the nature of the Landweird by watching The Wicker Man or Penda's Fen than by anything I could tell you about it.
Here's a growing collection of books, films etc - essentially just "stuff I like" - which communicate something of that mood or the ideas that have influenced me. It's essentially various waves of English pagan revivalism pop culture - especially from the 70s. Bit of a Nigel Kneale love-in. There's also some recommended Pagan books by authors doing similar things. But I generally think that's less effective compared to art by non-Pagans who nevertheless seemed to be influenced by our current and culture. Connecting to works of art is a great way to build up your emotional, sonic and visual imagination for entering altered and ritual states - so great it generally feels like cheating. Longterm, I hope to compile them into a sort of weekly Hymnal, that one could read a little from each week.
An important practice for you is to start developing a Commonplace Book. You should create your own Reading List of significant texts, and a book of quotes, verses, images, snippets which strike you as significant, which can be meditated on or form the basis of ritual. Your Reading List & Commonplace Book will become very different from mine over time, & this is good; as is sharing parts of it with other followers to collectively deepen our understanding of the Landweird. If you are part of a Moot, then a joint library, film nights, or book club is an easy and impactful way to practice together.
Meeting England's Dreaming
I dont have words for this.
I don't know whether these things form a coherent movement of linked figures or ideas, only that this was an era in the new age revival that spoke vividly and often of an imagined England, wight-haunted, wyrd-wreathed.
I'm writing about the 1970s folk revival; pastoral prog rock; 1970s folk horror, and pastoral weird; the years that Lord of the Rings was rediscovered by campus culture; the years that the witchcraft revival began to hit the mainstream. (Modern King Arthurs and Robin Hoods are gritty and grungy. This era gave us John Boorman's Excalibur film - witchy and sinister, set in thick mossy forests - and the tv show Robin of Sherwood, shamelessly set to new age folksters Clannad, depicting Robin as avatar and servant of the great god Herne.)
There's a linked mood in a lot of media to come out of the 1970s, which I'm not sure has been precicely named. Ironically, I know the lovely phrase "England's dreaming" from anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols, which is pretty much the OTHER thing that was happening in the 70s.
England's Dreaming is relevant to Landcrafting, because all these works try and fail to represent an essential truth that there is something mystical, and something strange, about our landscape.
- The Once and Future King by T.H. White
- Any Tolkien - especially the Hobbit, The Book of Lost Tales, and Fellowship of the Ring
- The Magician's Nephew/The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Even in his Christian allegory, Lewis can't escape the sense that the true power in the land is a Pagan one
- Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- The Curate's Friend by E.M. Forster [short story]
- The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster [short story]
- Probably some Alan Garner, like Weirdstone of Brisengamen or the Owl Service
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- If you prefer films, the best for our purposes is directed by Andrea Arnold
- The Wake and Beast by Paul Kingsnorth
- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
- Whistle and I'll Come to You by M.R. James [short story]
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
- Some Lovecraft - I'm currently re-reading to find some specific choices, but read for the sense of cosmic horror
- Being a Beast by Charles Foster
- H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
- A Year in the Country by Stephen Prince
- Looking for the Lost Gods of England by Kathleen Herbert
- This section will include like, Beowulf, mabinogion, etc
- The Call of the Horned Piper - Nigel Aldcroft Jackson
- Doctor Who: The Awakening (1984)
- Doctor Who: Battlefield (1989)
- Penda's Fen (1974)
- Robin of Sherwood (1984)
- Children of the Stones (1976)
- Sapphire & Steel (1972-1989) - especially serial 1, 2 & 6
- Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968)
- Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1998)
As part of the 70s Pagan revival current that saw all that weird/horrifying children's television, we had Pastoral Prog. This is my term for a subgenre in 60s/70s prog rock. It was influenced by folk and psychedelia, using organic sounds - twinkling guitars, flutes, mellotron/hammond organ - as opposed to the heavier or more electric/artificial sounds in other/later prog. It drew imagery from fantasy and myth - not just "wizards and dragons", but a specifically English green and pleasant land. Other songs focused on odd goings on in the countryside. This list is of albums rather than artists, because most of these bands moved to heavier sounds over time.
- Relics - Pink Floyd
- This compilation contains material from the first three albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets and More, all of which you can also look to. Also Syd Barret solo things - for example, Golden Hair
- Legend - Clannad
- Soundtrack to Robin of Sherwood - the Robin Hood adaptation influenced by this era of the Pagan revival, featuring a Herne spirit of the forest. Other Clannad is also great - from their early pure-Irish-folk albums, to their later sound. I especially like Croi Croga and Newgrange.
- Led Zeppelin IV; Led Zeppelin III
- IV has some rockier moments, but especially Battle of Evermore & Stairway to Heaven.
- Selling England by the Pound - Genesis
- Also Nursery Cryme and Trespass
- Please Don't Touch/Voyage of the Acolyte - Steve Hackett
- Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
- Many releases by Ghost Box - a label producing 70s-influenced/hauntological/pastoral sounds. More specific recommendations coming soon, as I've yet to find any I actually like - but it's definitely our period & era.
- Elgar - Dream of Gerontius - for the Penda's Fen connection
Things I've found, but not seen myself yet. My to-do list.
- The Witch (2015)
- Escape into Night (1972) / Paperhouse (1988)
- Blood on Satan's Claw (1971)
- The Witches [Film] (1966)
- The Owl Service [TV] (1969)
- Raven (1977)
- Robin Redbreast (1970)
- The Changes (1975)
- Beasts (1976)
- Journey to Avebury - Derek Jarman
- Stigma (1977)
- Lud-in-the-Mist (1926), or other books by the same author
Resources that don't quite make the cut - but which are in the zone
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne
- The League of Gentlemen
- Mike Oldfield
- Hauntology generally - I wrote a longer article about it here.
- Edge of Darkness (1985)
- Scarred for Life by Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence [review here] - for people who are really vibing off the 70s children's uncanny thing.
- Quatermass II (1957)
- Alice in Wonderland (1966 BBC TV play, but likely other versions of the story too including the book)
- The Earthsea Quartet
- Didn't quite make the cut because it's not rooted in an English imaginary, but pretty essential reading anyway for anyone who does magic. Educational.